After the All-Star break last week, the MLB continues to roll through a busy week with an eight-game Thursday night fantasy baseball slate. Five of the eight games are divisional matchups with the Yankees-Rays and Angels-Astros series wrapping up and the Nationals-Braves and Cardinals-Reds series just getting underway.
After a rough night of weather Wednesday, only the game in New York appears to be seriously threatened Thursday with a chance of a pop-up shower in Atlanta as well. As you monitor the forecast and check out starting lineups, make sure to catch all the latest news on the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com. You can start your roster construction by checking out these studs and values.
StudTrevor Bauer, CLE vs. DET, $11,000 — There’s no need to overthink this one — Bauer is the most expensive option on the slate because he has a high ceiling in a favorable matchup at home against the Tigers. Bauer has gone at least six innings in nine of his past 10 starts with 80 strikeouts and a 3.34 ERA over 67 1/3 innings. He has at least eight strikeouts in six of those outings and more than 20 DKFP in seven of those contests. Bauer faced Detroit twice during that span, dominating for 42.85 DKFP in Detroit before slipping up at home and producing just 2.4 DKFP against the Tigers in his next start. He has fared better on the road than at home but looked solid against the Twins in his first start after the break with 24.1 DKFP. The Tigers are last in the Majors in runs scored and are hitting just .234 as a team. Bauer should keep their bats quiet at Progressive Field in this matchup. Other Options — Stephen Strasburg ($10,500), Madison Bumgarner ($9,000)
ValueDakota Hudson, STL at CIN, $5,800 — Hudson has won three of his past four starts and put up at least 15 DKFP in each of those wins. He struggled with his control last time out but lasted six innings despite four walks. He typically doesn’t offer a ton of strikeout upside but went 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA over his past 10 starts. During that span, he had a solid outing against the Reds early in June, allowing just one run in 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision. He comes extremely cheap in this matchup and should be able to produce decent numbers as long as Great American Ball Park doesn’t play too small as the Cardinals open their four-game set with the Reds, who have dropped three of their past four and six of their past eight.
Other Options — Wade Miley ($8,200), Mike Fiers ($7,000)
StudTravis d’Arnaud, TB at NYY, $4,600 — After going off for 50 DKFP on Monday, d’Arnaud came back to earth, going 0-for-4 with no fantasy points Tuesday. He is hitting .245 with nine homers on the season but has been red hot lately, going 14-for-37 (.378) with four homers and a 1.209 OPS over his past 10 games. After a rainout Wednesday, he and the Rays will take on Chad Green ($5,700) and the Yankees’ bullpen in the nightcap of their doubleheader, which should set up good value if they’re able to dodge the rain and get the game in. Other Options — Mitch Garver ($5,200), Yasmani Grandal ($4,500)
ValueBuster Posey, SF vs. NYM, $3,600 — Posey has been heating up along with the rest of the Giants, who have won 12 of their previous 14 games coming into this weekend’s home set with the Mets. Posey has gone 12-for-37 (.324) with a pair of home runs in July and is 18-for-45 (.400) with a 1.049 OPS over his past 12 games. He took yesterday’s afternoon game off but should be ready to return to the lineup against Noah Syndergaard ($9,200), who he has gone 3-for-9 against in his career.
Other Options — Chris Herrmann ($3,400), John Hicks ($2,700)
FIRST BASEYuli Gurriel, HOU at LAA, $4,700 — Gurriel has been one of the hottest hitters in the Majors this month, going 21-for-51 (.412) with eight home runs, 18 RBI and a 1.396 OPS. He has hit safely in 17 of his past 18 games, going 19-for-75 (.400) with 11 homers and a 1.351 OPS. He has crushed the Angels especially all season, going 14-for-33 (.424) with four homers against Los Angeles. Matt Harvey ($4,800) pitched better in his most recent start but still has given up 18 runs and six home runs over his past five outings. Gurriel is a nice building block if you want some power potential at 1B. Other Options — Nate Lowe ($4,500), Edwin Encarnación ($4,300)
ValueBrandon Belt, SF vs. NYM, $3,700 — Like Posey, Belt has been a big part of the Giants’ recent surge and has become the team’s usual option at the top of the lineup against right-handed starters. Belt has gone 20-for-70 (.333) with a .845 OPS over his past 15 games. While he has struggled against Syndergaard in the past, he and Posey are a solid and affordable 1-2 stack atop the San Francisco lineup if you believe in the Giants’ recent surge.
Other Options — Albert Pujols ($3,900), Ryan Zimmerman ($3,400)
StudKeston Hiura, MIL at ARI, $5,000 — Hiura would be challenging for the Rookie of the Year award in most seasons, although Pete Alonso ($4,500) seems to be running away with that honor this season. Hiura is hitting .323 in his two stints in the Majors with nine home runs, 19 RBI and a robust .992 OPS. Over his past nine games, he has averaged 16.7 DKFP per contest while going 16-for-32 (.500) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and four stolen bases. He has settled into the heart of a solid order and is emerging as an offensive force for the Brew Crew. Other Options — Ketel Marte ($5,300), DJ LeMahieu ($4,100)
ValueJosé Peraza, CIN vs. STL, $3,400 — Peraza came off the bench with a double Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to six in a row. He has gone 9-for-19 (.474) over that recent hot stretch with two doubles, a triple and a home run. Two of those games are Coors-aided, but he seems to be turning things around after a slow start. If he gets the start in the middle infield or in the outfield tonight, he’s a solid play under $3.5K.
Other Options — Brian Dozier ($3,700), Harold Castro ($3,400)
StudAnthony Rendon, WAS at ATL, $5,100 — Rendon has hit safely in all five of his games since the All-Star break to pull his batting average up to .311 on the season. He has an impressive 1.004 OPS on the year and has raised it with a 1.101 OPS since the break. He and the Nationals get Julio Teheran ($6,400) in their series opener in Atlanta, and Rendon is 12-for-40 (.300) in his career against the Braves’ starter with three doubles. Other Options — Eduardo Escobar ($5,200), Josh Donaldson ($4,500)
ValueJosé Ramirez, CLE vs. DET, $4,000 — Ramírez has started to turn things off after a slow start and is great play while he’s still only $4K. He is 14-for-41 (.341) in his past 10 games with five doubles and three home runs while averaging 12.1 DKFP per contest over that stretch. Even while struggling, he still hit southpaws well and comes into the matchup with Matthew Boyd ($9,600) with a .269 average against lefties this season. He is 6-for-24 with a triple and home run against Boyd in his career and should be able to stay hot as the Indians go for a four-game sweep of their division rivals.
Other Options — Marwin Gonzalez ($3,700), Joey Wendle ($2,900)
StudFrancisco Lindor, CLE vs. DET, $4,400 — Lindor has had even more success than Ramírez against Boyd, going 9-for-24 (.375) with two double and two homers against Detroit’s scheduled starter. Lindor connected on his 15th home run of the season Wednesday and has hit safely in 11 of his past 13 games. He’s pretty affordable given his history against Boyd and con provide a nice power-speed combo against the Tigers. Other Options — Alex Bregman ($4,900), Paul DeJong ($4,100)
ValueAmed Rosario, NYM at SF, $3,500 — Rosario exploded for 40 DKFP on Wednesday, going 4-for-4 with a triple, a home run and a walk. He has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games, going 18-for-40 (.450) with a 1.152 OPS. Rosario usually hits near the bottom of the order, but he still can save you some salary at SS especially against a lefty, since he is batting .304 with a .938 OPS on the season against southpaws.
Other Options — Andrelton Simmons ($4,000), Didi Gregorius ($3,600)
StudMichael Brantley, HOU at LAA, $4,500 — Brantley doesn’t cost as much as the elite OF bats but has been tearing up July. He has gone 17-for-42 (.405) with four doubles and a pair of home runs so far this month and has multiple hits in five of his past seven starts. Brantley has a .917 OPS against right-handed pitching and has gone 15-for-28 (.536) with four doubles, four home runs and a 1.659 OPS against the Angels this season. Other Options — Christian Yelich ($5,700), George Springer ($5,500)
ValueAdam Eaton, WAS at ATL, $4,000 — Eaton has made himself a fixture in the second spot of the Nationals’ lineup. He has gone 27-for-86 (.314) in 23 games over the past calendar month with five doubles, five RBI, 13 walks and three stolen bases. He hasn’t hit for much power this season but gets on base, scores runs and can steal bases at times. He is one of several proven bats around the $4K range that should be in a position to fill in your outfield spots. If you have to go with bargain options, my better-projected plays are in the IF on this slate.
Other Options — Justin Upton ($4,000), Victor Reyes ($3,500)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.